Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria "bad for Israel" and strengthens Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday morning.
U.S. envoy in fight against ISIS resigns over Syria withdrawal, December 23, 2018 (Reuters)
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While "the US President is a great friend of Israel," Shaked said, "this step does not help Israel and strengthens Erdogan, who is an antisemite."
"We know how to protect ourselves," Shaked continued. The US withdrawal could lead to the transfer of more weapons to Lebanese Shi'ite terrorist group Hezbollah from Iran, Shaked said, but "we will do everything we need to prevent Iran from gaining foothold in Syria."
Shaked also condemned the effect that the American troop withdrawal would have on Kurdish militias in Syria, which have been leading the fight against the Islamic State. On Friday, Erdogan pledged to "eliminate" these Kurdish militias along with remaining ISIS fighters.
"The Kurds are great heroes," she said, "and because of them the West succeeded in its fight against ISIS. They are allies, and I hope that they will win in their battle against the Turks. I hope that the international community will prevent Erdogan from massacring the Kurds."
Shaked's statements echoed sentiments expressed more bluntly by an unnamed Israeli official to the New York Times
Friday. The official said that Trump has "effectively thrown Israel under the bus – and the bus in this case was a Russian Army transport truck," according to the Times
paraphrase of his statement.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu similarly slammed Erdogan
for a statement attacking Jews, stating that he was hardly in any position to be preaching morality.
“Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel,” Netanyahu said.Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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